By Anna Jacob
Squeamish boys look away now! This week, I’m going to be talking about vajayjays.
I remember exactly when I found out about periods. I must have been about 10 and we were made to watch a video and endure a talk on the subject in school. I remember feeling cheated and experiencing a sinking realisation that life wouldn’t all be adventure playgrounds, Fisher-Price tape-recorders, Saturday sweets and the constant pursuit of Cheestrings. Things were about to get complicated. Things were about to get bloody, hairy, lumpy in new places and uncontrollably weepy at times. I was doomed to spend the next 5-10 years endlessly shaving, waxing, sobbing, stropping, uncontrollably giggling, applying eyeliner and nail varnish, squeezing spots and writing truly terrible poetry.
Needless to say, periods turned out to be the least of my worries. But in the couple of years when I was aware that they existed, but yet to experience what I could only imagine would be a crippling week-long monthly bloodbath, I plotted my counter attack against my own body’s forthcoming self-sabotage. I read that periods could start as late as the age of 18 or 19, and that in rare cases, menopause could start in one’s twenties and I prayed that I would be one of the lucky ones and only have to put up with this bloody inconvenience for five years tops. I heard that with certain contraceptives you could skip periods for months at a time, and decided to see my doctor the minute my period started and get myself an implant post haste!
My period started just before my 13th birthday and I learned that the pill/implant/coil etc was not without its disadvantages (it turned out that the possibility of weight gain was more frightening to me than tampons) and as most girls found, it wasn’t thaaat bad. In fact some of my friends were downright looking forward to the onslaught of puberty! Crazy bitches. Although, those were the same weird friends that soon preferred shopping for high heels to playing on the swings in the park. A preference I still don’t fully understand.
I was still determined however, to find the optimum way of dealing with this monthly annoyance. I very quickly rejected panty-liners as being far too much like a nappy and far too bulky to carry around in those mini rucksacks that were so cool in the late 90s. I was quite happy with tampons for about the last 10 years, although after finding out about the bleaching and processing of most major sanitary protection brands, I found and stuck with organic unbleached cotton tampons without applicators. (Applicators are for pussies! No pun intended. Well, maybe pun intended.) I was never too happy about the waste aspect though. My family are admirably vigilant recyclers and I was even raised in terrycloth nappies (although they gave up on them when my brother came along after one too many safety pin stabbing accidents). I have rarely been able to put something in a bin without guilitily remembering images such as this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/nov/03/albatross-plastic-poison-pacific and I was certain that there must be a better way to plug up one’s gee.
I came across the Mooncup about a year ago in the Greenshop in Bisley, Gloucestershire. It was a bit out of my budget at the time (about 20 quid) but my lovely and generous Mother offered to buy me one.
I was delighted to find a waste-free solution to menstruation, although I’ll admit I was a little dubious at first about the size of the thing – let’s just say the Mooncup matches or slightly exceeds the girth of the average man… But, despite my worries, the Mooncup has turned out to be a godsend. Apart from the very first few hours of my period – where I tend to be a bit bloated and gassy… in the most ladylike way of course – I never notice that the cup is there. It takes a little practice but it’s very easy to insert and remove, I’ve saved tons of money by now and my bleedin’ womb is not contributing to landfill at all! It also comes in a cute little cotton bag which is really easy to keep in your handbag, hang in your bathroom, dangle from your hoop earring, whatever you like! Get creative!
If any female out there is curious about the Mooncup, do feel free to ask me any questions, either in the comments or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mooncup aren’t paying me to write this, although they can if they want to… I’m just sickened by the thought of all those pads and tampons floating out to sea and piling up in landfill, and all the poor women out there who don’t realise that the bleach used on most popular brands of tampons is actually causing them health problems. Check out the website for more info: http://www.mooncup.co.uk/
This article is also very useful: http://myzerowaste.com/articles/personal/reusable-sanitary-protection/
We use between 11,000 and 17,000 items of sanitary protection in our lifetimes, and much of that lot doesn’t even biodegrade as plastics are being used more and more in these products. If I can even convince one of you to switch to the Mooncup, that’s up to 17,000 pads or tampons that wont end up in landfill or the sea choking baby seals to death! Well, that may be an exaggeration, I don’t know, but it’s a good excuse to end this blog with a photo of a baby seal: